I'm so relieved to be able to give you a health update! If you're new to my blog, you can find the beginning of this story in Bed Rest, and in O is for Oxygen.
Since I last whined about my troublesome lungs, I've been to the pulmonologist twice, and to the allergist, twice. Mr. Lungs was of no help whatsoever. He just had me take a bunch of expensive breathing tests in order to say what my primary care doc had already said, post-infectious chronic reactive airway disease. But Mr. Allergies finally found some answers! He of course discovered my allergies to every single pollen, something not news to me. I've just never bothered to know exactly which, I just know that each spring it will be hell, and year round, still pretty bad. I've been on Claritin for years. He also found me allergic to cats, which was a huge surprise. I've had cats since my childhood, growing up and into adulthood. I guess they were contributing to my mostly seasonal allergies. I'm also allergic to dust mites, but we don't have them in Colorado. He said. I'm not so sure about that and the thought of them eating my dead skin cells in my mattress gives me the heebie jeebies.
However, this news didn't explain my feelings of tightness in the chest, nor the trouble getting a deep breath. But he had me try Singulair for my lingering cough, and it's magic! I no longer cough AT ALL. Which is an unbelievable relief! I've been coughing for five long months. But it didn't help with the breathing thing. However, he wasn't giving up, and with further examination (which included a LOT of “does this hurt” “YES!”) he has diagnosed me with costochondritis. In brief, it's an inflammation of the joint where the rib bone meets the cartilage which connects to your sternum. It causes those feelings of tightness, and an inability to get a deep breath. He thinks this was caused by the whooping cough infection, and then just never got better since I was still coughing, aggravating those connections with each hack, hack, sputter, wrap my arms around me, try to stop coughing episode. He's put me on a very low dose of prednisone (to give you an idea, I was on 90 mg when I first got whooping cough, this is 5 mg.) AND IT IS WORKING! Breathing is easier, moving is easier, I can go up and down the stairs without getting dizzy. I can walk to the mailbox and back without getting winded. I can't tell you what a relief this is! These may sound like small tasks, but to me they used to be huge.
So it's with great pleasure that I can now answer, “Better, thanks!” when asked how I'm feeling. I'm not to well yet, but certainly finally on my way.